Most people dream of retiring to a life in the sun, many consider running a business. Spain is one of the top destinations and that's just what Vivienne Wharton decided to do in 2007. As Founder of ACTIN, she recently stepped down as President and had time to chat to me about life in Spain.
I asked her why she chose the Cartagena area of Murcia, as Spain is such a large country! ‘It was really by accident. My best friend had moved here and whilst I was visiting her I came across Tara Casa, which was perfect for my plans to create a retreat. I hadn’t planned on living in Spain full time but to commute for the retreats. But as often happens, life doesn’t always take the path you plan. The previous owners abandoned their 2 dogs at the house and so the move to Tara Casa became permanent’.
Like a lot of animal lovers in Spain, it is virtually impossible to turn a blind eye to the abandonment and cruelty which exists on the doorstep, especially dogs and cats but also for horses and donkeys. Living among the beautiful almond groves, Viv had the same problem.
I've been involved in galgo and podenco rescue and rehoming since 2007 when the plight of the galgos and podencos was little known outside of Spain and the Canary Islands,long before the days of facebook. Vie my blogs Galgo News and Podenco Post I'm proud to have helped set two amazing young English women on the path to becoming two of the best known rescue and rehoming associations through advertising for homing dogs they had rescued before they formed their associations. I've fostered many galgos and podencos, indeed I'm a failed foster mother too as 2 of my galgos are in my home forever.
This video tells the story of one of my 'failed' fosters. It's an old video, as Brac's story has moved on. Some months after we took him to his 'forever' home in the UK, sadly through no fault of either Bracken nor his adoptant, we received an email from them to say that because of serious illnes, they had to return their newly adopted galgo and also a tripod greyhound they had adopted. As soon as my husband read that, he booked a ferry across the Channel, stayed overnight with a very good friend, drove up to meet with Bracken and bring him back to our home in France. He'd really wanted to keep Bracken himself so although sad for the couple who were heartbroken to say goodbye to him, he was pleased to welcome Bracken back into our canine fold.
Carmela, Polar, Bracken and tiny Podenca Andaluz Bebe. I'm off to Pepis Dog Refuge, Pedrera tomorrow for 6 days to catch up with all the hounds there but there will be stories posting whilst I am away.
Here is an appeal from SPCAI (which arrived in my mail Inbox) who, amongst supporting animals rescues around the world, are also helping the galgos in Spain. Last year they responded to an appeal from me for a grant for Pepis Dog refuge to pay for a concrete driveway from the lower refuge up to the Galgo centre. Before that, it was just mud and Jane and Alan had to manually carry or drag all supplies including water to the centre and their home.
The story here is about a galga rescued by SOS Galgos of Barcelona. It is also a story about the work SPCAI are doing to help the Spanish galgos.